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UCLA’s Kiki Rice becomes first NIL athlete for Jordan Brand

(Photo courtesy of Nike)

Kiki Rice is officially a Jordan athlete.

The Jordan Brand has made the UCLA freshman its first signing of the name, image and likeness era in college basketball.

“Being Jordan Brand’s first NIL athlete is an incredible milestone, and I think it’s a testament to the hard work I’ve put in and all the people around me who have helped me get to this point,” Rice said in a statement. “Signing with the Jordan Brand is another motivating factor for me to continue to work hard and achieve my goals.”

Rice, who was named the Gatorade Athlete of the Year back in July, also was named Just Women’s Sports’ inaugural high school Basketball Player of the Year in March after leading Sidwell Friends to its first city championship in Washington, D.C. Wasserman represents the basketball player for all NIL deals.

The freshman said joining the Jordan Brand “doesn’t even seem real yet,” as it’s a brand she looked up to a lot as a kid.

“Growing up, I used to scroll through Jordan Brand’s website and see the athletes they had, or watch TV and be like, ‘Oh, they’re a Jordan Brand athlete,’” she said. “To now be one of them, it’s a dream come true and something I never really thought would happen. Now that it’s official, it’s the best thing that could have ever happened, and I’m so excited for the future.”

As a passionate advocate for gender equity, Rice also appreciates that Jordan Brand made their first NIL signing a women’s basketball player. Jordan Brand will collaborate with Rice on efforts to support her community, for example on improving opportunities in sport for girls.

“I experienced first hand a lot of inequity, and I think leveling the playing field between boys and girls at a young age is something that I’m really passionate about in terms of helping bridge the gap,” Rice said.